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Edit Like It's 2009: Apple Quietly Re-releases Final Cut Studio (for Full Price)

09.3.11 @ 1:56PM Tags : , , , , ,

After days of rumors, it’s official: according to Apple, “a limited quantity of Final Cut Studio [are] still available through Apple telesales to customers who need them for ongoing projects.” What’s the big deal? Apple had previously pulled all copies of FCS from the shelves, and this represents a capitulation to the ongoing demand for their two year-old NLE in the face of negative reactions to FCPX. I thought Walter Biscardi put it best:

"Hello video editors. We know we screwed you. So here's our 2+ year old product for the same $1000 price, happy now?" #fcp
walter biscardi

Of course, if you look at FCS’s release history, the vast majority of the old version of Final Cut Pro’s codebase is significantly more than two years old. Meanwhile FCPX retails for 1/3 the price — and there’s no talk of any upgrade pricing. So if you’re going to buy Final Cut Studio 3, you’d better make it pay for itself on the first few jobs. To do so, you must call 1-800-MY-APPLE and talk to a rep; it is not available online or on store shelves. Oh, and if you’re a student, you can get it for $899, though I wouldn’t recommend any students learn the old version at this point; commit to FCP X, or switch to Adobe Premiere Pro (which is 50% off until the end of October).

[via Richard Harrington]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 30 COMMENTS

  • I agree with everything you’ve said, but I would make one small edit to your post: remove the phrase, “commit to FCP X” which you present as an alternative to switching to Premiere. Students would be better off learning Avid or Lightworks. FCP X shouldn’t even be a consideration.

    • I disagree — I happen to like FCPX, though I think Apple botched the launch by releasing a woefully incomplete NLE for something bearing the “Pro” moniker. But if you’re a student and you won’t be entering the job marketplace for a few years, FCPX editing very well may be a viable career.

  • Brent Gooden on 09.3.11 @ 2:44PM

    Koo, as a student and newcomer to filmmaking, I am still choosing on what video editing program I should use. I am becoming bit by bit familiar with video editing with premiere pro (an older version -cs3- to be exact). I recently got macbook pro and don’t know which video editing software to choose. I intend on using one of these video editing software to become more familiar with DSLR filmmaking. I really just want to make shorts to understand and learn with DSLRs.
    I now have os x lion, and through different reviews and forums, I found out there are many problems with different video editing softwares.
    From what I see the best bet is premiere pro for os x lion. But with my new macbook pro not being able to handle their mercury CUDA system for native editing. What could I do?
    Should I use final cut pro (Earlier), or as you stated above, commit to final cut pro x or premiere pro?
    Or do you have another suggestion?

    • Hey Brent,

      In general I prefer cross-platform tools. I was a PC editor for years, I’ve been on the Mac now for several years and greatly prefer it, but you never know what the future holds. Adobe’s a great option for this reason, since Premiere Pro and After After Effects work exactly the same regardless of host OS. My $0.02.

    • Hey Brent,

      I’ve been editing back and forth between Premiere and Final cut for the past 4 years, and EVERY time I start using FCP again, I ALWAYS go back to Premiere. It’s a fantastic application bundled in amazing suite of applications. For the money, and especially as a student, Premiere Pro is the way to go. I would look into Student Licensing, which is how I first got my copy of PP. You can get Production Premium CS5.5 for $4-500, and use it for commercial applications, AND upgrade to a commercial version whenever you decide to go that route.

      Apple and Avid can’t claim that.

      As far as the Mercury Playback engine, it runs super well on my 2011 MBP. I’ve played back 1080p, 24fps AVCHD footage from my GH2 with no hiccups. By watching it, you’d think it was transcoded to an edit friendly format.

      Also, I can’t praise Premiere enough for the ability to put multiple formats in a timeline. I was working on a wedding video that had both H264 and XDCAM footage. Premiere handled it flawlessly.

      So, in conclusion, you can either fork over $300 for FCPX and get a very feature limited NLE, or pay $1-200 for a professional SUITE of applications.

      The best to you!

      • @Nathaniel, that pricing only works if you’re a student — eventually you’ll have to bite the expensive bullet, and multiply those prices several times over. FCP X can play back that same footage on that same Mac with no problem, and it’s $300 for everyone. Motion for $50 is insanely good value; some people have bought it for the keyer alone.

        • Well, the poster did say he was a student.

        • Hey Iain,

          Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from. But, with him being a student, theres no better option than Prod Premium CS5.5, because essentially you’re getting PP for $300 and getting AE, PS, AI, and EN for $50 a piece.

          Well worth it I think ;)

  • They should at least cut the price of FCP 7. sheesh…

  • I think that you are correct about FCPX being the future. Pro editors can kick and scream but apple decides. They are have often be the company that doesn’t care about looking backwards just forwards. They stopped putting floppy disks drives in before anyone eles dared.

    • @Nic I disagree. They’ve removed features which allow you to work with other industry standard programs like ProTools. Major in-house outfits like the BBC as well as schools like UCLA and USC have adopted Adobe Premiere Pro.

      Apple has aimed for a wider prosumer market, and many people prefer using professional tools for professional jobs. You can’t win a Formula 1 race in Ford Mustang.

  • Brent Gooden on 09.4.11 @ 4:05PM

    Thank you guys for the comments. I’m getting premiere pro for my program. ive thought bout getting final cut pro x for personal/sideproject use. But I feel more comfortable
    with pp n its always been reliable. Its always things changing around making adobe hve problems. (oa x lion). But after the kinks r fixed, im sure both programs fcp n pp will run great in the future. But now im following my gut and great adivce from you filmmakers and koo.

  • Brent Gooden on 09.4.11 @ 4:19PM

    Question: Besides the mercury engine, for the new macs dont have the proper graphic cards. Will most of the incredie features such as dslr native editing or warp stabilizer will work properly or somewhat good on this mac/with os x lion

    • If you check Nvidia’s site, they have a MAC GPU with CUDA out now, in the 4000 Quadro series as I recall, not sure what machines it fits.

  • I think prosumer editors shouldn’t make statements about industries they don’t understand. If Apple wants to take over the animated ‘baby’s first christmas’ slide show market, congratulations, but this iMovie Pro’s future (@Nic) isn’t even remotely professional and that’s where all the justified kicking and screaming comes in.
    The biggest reason being; thousands of post houses were given no warning that their investment of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions on infrastructure is now no longer compatible or supported. That all the valid bugs & issues they fielded with Apple reps, often face to face, leading up to the new release were ignored. Many professional editors were also consulted in regards to this slap in the face.

    iMovie Pro does a lot of clever background hand holding for green editors but if I was someone starting out and was serious about my career potential, I’d learn what a pro used. I’m not saying don’t get FCPX and learn it. Cut a show reel or a snowboarding video, go nuts! But I’d leave it out off the ‘skills’ section of your CV before trying to join the industry.

    Here’s why:
    On the indie side FCPX will get you picture lock on a short, doco or feature with quite possibly a clever colour grade ready for YouTube. But what happens if you budding filmmakers actually had ambition and after showing your work around were accepted to a festival. Now you’ll had to ‘DELIVER’ that film to meet international standards. 99% of the time that’s a tape export HDCAM that Apple has told you is dead. Heaven forbid you really break-in and a distributor gets involved. “Here’s $100,000 for professional sound mix.” Wait? FCPX doesn’t do any exports for ProTool or EDL or anything really that the actual industry demands.

    Commercials and TV in any professional sense are right out too. Without a CRT monitor, RGB parade, a vector scope and all the clever filters in the world aren’t going to make sure you’re not a complete interlacing retard. Even if you knew fields and legal colours you’d still have to get your masters output to mpeg2 or most likely digi-beta. FCPX again = FAIL. Think compressor will save you when FCPX won’t master to native formats. .m4v H.264 to mpeg2 will get you black listed from any broadcaster I’ve even dealt with.

    So as a professional looking forward not backwards I wouldn’t hire a FCPX editor to make coffee let alone assist or cut anything. Think Apple is hiring editors? I look forward to the next generation of skate video, mo graphic rockstars coming up in the wedding video industry. Happy cutting.

    • ^ lol, awesome!

    • Hundreds of thousands?? Millions? On infrastructure? For FInal Cut? HAHA

      FCS is consumer shit to most highly paid editors… It’s all about the Avid IMHO. Avid has the peripherals, the software.. rock solid computer configurations. FCP X did take a step down on the totem pole, but Apple is making more MONEY and that’s all they care about. Spent lots on setting up a editing suite… well let’s hope you didn’t fire your IT guy… just get a proper NLE.


      • I’ve worked in more than a few custom post facilities build around Final Cut even though I’m primarily an Avid editor. It doesn’t take more than a few suites, with full HD or 3D playback monitors, pro audio, deck link boxes or custom Pro Macs to get well into those price ranges. Hell, one colour suite built for Apple Colour is easily $100k. A broadcast News corp would easily break the million dollar mark and many probably did as recently as 2006-2008 for the bragging rights to say they’re an Apple environment new team to match the rampant i-life at the time.

        All who’ve probably being screwed for the 2nd or 3rd time; who bought into Xserve or Final Cut Studio.
        So yes, INFRASTRUCTURE.

        Those IT departments don’t just go around now installing Avids on macs either. An Avid at that level is running on a purpose built PC. Especially if they are running shared projects in an ISIS or Unity environment. There’s no cheap turn over to for these places and seeing as Apple knew they were going to screw them all over a year ago but went door to door taking council with smug faces.

        So yes, you have the right prognosis, “get a proper NLE” but until only a few months ago that wasn’t so clear. FCP editors were all still hoping Apple was going to fix all the pro bugs and give them a 64bit power house at the same time.

        And Avid ain’t so rock solid. They just have a development and support team that give a shit when you log an issue. So I’ll extend my original invitation to semi-pro editors as well, you shouldn’t make statements about industries they don’t understand.

        • George Pada on 09.8.11 @ 3:50PM

          I can take a full hd project from my work and run it on a 6yr old turion x64 laptop (Acer 9300) and work on it flawlessly all night and then go back to work and render the project on my work’s workstation! That’s how stable Avid is!
          What I want to say is that even if premiere or fcp are easier to learn, beginner editors should try Avid mc and decide what’s right for them.
          I’m sure that it’s not up to the tool but up to the editor’s ability to tell a story but the master of the game in this industry is Avid – period!

    • Hey Pro E’, that was a great analysis of the workflow, vis a vie, broadcast post skater boy world, nice!

      Made for a laugh.

      iJOBS intent is obviously the cloud user base, something which is a giant peach stretch away from an edit bay reality.


  • I know it’s fun to second guess every move from Apple and imagine all sorts of motives and meanings but this one is pretty simple. There are a lot of larger facilities that have more than a couple seats of FCP and some of them need to expand. Apple made some copies of FCP available to their VARs who just got their POs shipped. The remaining copies were then put up for sale through the 800 number and not on the Apple website or in their store. This means that they are not re-releasing it or backpedalling on FCPX, but merely allowing for the facilities that are still using FCP to get a couple more copies. My guess is that when the current inventory is sold that will be the end of FCP7 sales. Hopefully by then we’ll have a lot of the wholes in FCPX plugged by new releases and third party apps.

  • Just to note, until the end of October the production premium suite is only $800, so even if you’re not a student it’s a pretty amazing deal. Fully $200 cheaper than apple for something quite a bit more advanced.

  • Apple is fucked up by doing that, Thats why I switched to premier pro.

  • Hey Koo,

    Thanks for the brilliance generally. Saw you in the Zacuto second set.

    What’s the take on whether or not iJOBS will actually continue offering stand alone platforms, versus a completely cloud user base in the next few years?

    Now that Nvidia has a MAC centric CUDA GPU for towers, where is the market really headed

    I’ve heard they will jettison computers as a product line, sometime in the future, but, heard is also herd, and not based in fact. Marketing 101 says it’s more than possible, given their position as a phone company that happens to sell computers that represents less than 10 or 5 percent of sales, and down-trending.

    Realizing that Intel partnered with them on the protocol for the Thunderbolt, but, caveat, it was easier to use the Cupertino’s in a work for hire, to break the code of silence, and then retain full ownership of the chip/portal for release to the broadcast world.

    Not really OT if one is considering long term investments for tools which are facilitating a career.



  • (Sorry for my bad English)

    I think what the editors want is the “Editing” and that’s what FCPx is aiming for. It’s also a fact that FCPx doesn’t get to the point where editors can get to anything they want but that doesn’t mean FCPx is a complete failure. I think that one day FCPx would overcome these problems and fulfill the problems of being a solid SIMPLE editor for pro editing.

    Most of the Editors are convinced that good editing need a good infrastrusture with a very complicated software with a complex workflow system. Apple just think the opposite and trying hard to make people believe in a simple editing that just do most of the stuff you need without you telling almost every single thing. It would be far better if Apple doing this all step by step of taking PRO towards simplicity of editing film. Not just telling us editors to stop right away and accept FCPx.

    But if you prefer the older type of NLE, try AVID or Adobe Production Premium …. if older, try Lightworks. But if you want to try a new thing, wait a bit for a better fix version of FCPx and give them a try.

  • If you want to know the real reason Apple released FCPX, go to the Cyberlnk website and click on PowerDirector9 – then read about it’s multi-threading CPU & GPU optimization capability, and check out its price and rave reviews.

    The only negative reviews about PD9 are from people using it on a non-optimized system. — Ideally you want a multi-core processor, one of the newer graphics cards, a few internal HDs and at least 12MB Ram. — Sounds like a lot, but I’ve tested this set up on a job site and it’s a ROCkET at editing multiple HD clips, as compared to the sluggish speed of FCP. – So please don’t support Apple’s halfhearted effort to play catch-up after THEY dropped the ball by cutting their Pro app staff and screwing over loyalists. — All while raking in the biggest profits in their history.

    Now mind you, I worked for Apple for years and was once a diehard fan myself, until I realized how much they overwork and under pay their Chinese part markers and assemblers…and how many suicides have resulted from this profit-mongering behavior. It’s shameful and there’s simply no excuse for it. Especially when they had the audacity to feature César Chávez, Mohammad Ali, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, and Gandhi in their THINK DIFFERENT campaign — ALL of whom championed human rights and fair working conditions. BTW, it’s also striking that while the images of these wonderful and diverse humanitarians were used for marketing purposes, back then and to this day (to my knowledge) there is still not a single black or brown person on Apple’s executive team (the only person of color that I can think of in upper management was Sina, the VP of Pro Apps I believe, who I think is of middle-eastern descent).

    People are so blind in their devotion to Apple, it’s pathetic. Apple FANatics should demand that the company at least live up to their own advertising image. – Let’s not forget their seminal 1984 ad, and the irony that Apple (like Google and others) covertly installed GPS trackers inside their phones, which can be used as “evidence” against you in a court of law. Oh, and has anyone actually read that 50 page iTunes User Agreement?! – It’s Big Brother incarnate.

    That’s my vent. I hope it wakes a few people up. Blind devotion is a dangerous thing..

    • Laura,

      The glossy effects button doesn’t always layer as expected in Cupertino.

      Thanks very much for taking time to state the surreality.

  • The hallmark of a true professional is versatility. Once you know your video/audio formats, deliverables and workflow well, you just need to throw the switch to enter the mindset required by a different NLE. For me, it’s like being multilingual. I may not be as fast as a monolingual person working in a single language, but I am certainly faster than a monolingual person trying to learn a new language! FCP X is fine for certain uses. I may never learn it simply because I am not likely to be hired to do that kind of editing.

  • Hey RK!
    Couple of things.
    I’d like to see a side by side comparison of setups/costs of editing suites between high-end studios, smaller production companies, and home studios.
    Doesn’t FCP 7 still work? All of a sudden just because new versions came out, it stopped working? I don’t get most people just jumping ship and running with the next new thing.
    LOL then again, unlike most of the big name folks we all follow and read about, we don’t have awesome projects and big money to spend on the newest or even best things out there.
    Ok, after reading most of the articles out there it’s even more confusing on where to go and what to put on the “list,”
    So where do people who have FCP 6-7 and a 2009-10 MacPro or MacBookPro or iMac go from here???